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Bioresource Technology, Vol.292, 2019
Enhancement of beta-carotene production by regulating the autophagy-carotenoid biosynthesis seesaw in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
This work aimed to demonstrate a new strategy for enhancing the production of carotenoids through the regulation of seesaw cross-talk between autophagy and carotenoid biosynthesis pathways in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Autophagy-related ATG1 and ATG8 genes were first silenced using artificial microRNA, which in turn reduced the mRNA expression of ATG1 and ATG8 by 84.4% and 74.3%, respectively. While ATG1 kinase controls early step in autophagy induction and ATG8 is an essential factor for the downstream formation of autophagosome membranes, the decreased expression of these genes led to a 2.34-fold increase in the amount of beta-carotene content (i.e., 23.75 mg/g DCW). Furthermore, all mutants seemed to exhibit greater biodiesel properties than that of wild-type due to increased accumulation of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. These results support the role of autophagy in regulating the production of valuable metabolites, which could contribute to uplifting the economic outlook of nascent algal biorefinery.